The Simpsons is one of the most popular TV shows in the USA and the UK, but did you know that its actually one of the most mathematically sophisticated TV show ever made?! Me neither!
“Most people are unaware that The Simpsons’ writing team is bristling with maths PhDs, and that the programme contains a huge amount of mathematics in its content.” – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-24344912
These writers, one of whom went to Harvard to study maths at 16, hide hundreds of maths references throughout The Simpsons’ 581 episodes. This includes a joke about Fermat’s last theorem, the most notorious equation in the history of mathematics!
Another example of hidden maths is in an episode involving a baseball game. On the way in, the camera shows a board with a list of numbers that show the possible attendance.
These digits might seem pretty random, normal, good guesses in fact, but they actually represent a perfect number, a narcissistic number and a Mersenne prime. (!!!!!!!!) What does this even mean!?!?
Im not even going to go into what they mean as it is generally far too confusing. But it just goes to show that something that millions of people have probably turned a blind eye to whilst watching their favourite dinner time show, actually means something – something very complicated but also very true! These mathematicians have almost got too much time on their hands. It just goes to show that maths is literally right under our noses without even noticing.
Simon Singh has even released a book called ‘The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets’.
Here is him discussing the numbers of attendance I have just spoken about, he probably explains it better than me…
I could literally be here all day talking about The Simpsons and its hidden maths, but that isn’t the point. The point is the maths hidden within the show. This scenario happens in our every day life, where maths is actually concealed behind things we would never expect! Although we do not notice it I still feel it is really important as it means mathematics is still around us and even whilst we are watching the Simpsons we are still getting a taste for numbers and sometimes, extremely difficult mathematical equations.